Boston Globe: Biotech workforce continued to expand in Mass. last year, report says

Sep 06, 2023

By Robert Weisman, Staff Reporter, Boston Globe

The following is an excerpt from an article that appear online and in print in The Boston Globe on September 6, 2023.

Massachusetts continued to expand its biopharma workforce in research labs and manufacturing plantslast year even as venture capital investment dwindled and fewer biotech companies went public.

Overall employment in the sector — a bellwether of the state’s innovation economy — increased 6.9 percent to about 114,000 in 2022, compared to nearly 107,000 the prior year, according to the 2023 Industry Snapshot released Wednesday by the trade group MassBio.

Biopharma growth slowed from the peak years of 2020 and 2021, when the COVID pandemic spurred record public and private investment in vaccines and treatments. But the sector continues to expand at a solid pace, MassBIO chief executive Kendalle Burlin O’Connell said.

“We’re continuing to see the outsize role that Massachusetts [plays] on the national and international life sciences landscape,” O’Connell said, pointing to a growth in research employment that last year outpaced that of California, a rival biopharma cluster.

Most of the top global drug makers have a research presence in Massachusetts. Japanese pharma giant Takeda was the top industry employer in the state last year, with 6,290 jobs, followed by French-based Sanofi, which employed 4,600 workers here.

Moderna, the Cambridge biotech that vaulted to prominence in 2020 with its COVID vaccine, leapfrogged Biogen of Cambridge and Vertex of Boston to become the top Massachusetts-based biopharma employer, with nearly 4,200 workers. Moderna ranked third on the overall list.

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